Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Tag Archives: cute

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Ep. 1

Initial impression – disturbingly cute and colorful…seriously disturbing (1/10)

Summer 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Humanity has Declined) (more info)

As far as I can tell what Jinrui is about, I can see the main heroine is some sort of mediator between normal humans and an offshoot human branch of fairies that came about after some unnamed calamity.  Considering how candy-bright the palette is in this anime, I can’t imagine it was particularly disastrous.  The writing is all over the place with only the most basic information about what’s going on presented and the rest either condescending commentary on how modern life is wasteful to a very misogynistic view of gender roles.  And then there are those fairies who discuss the oncoming extinction of humanity in the same voice of unconstrained joy as they do the prospect of eating sweets.

I’m not sure what this anime is trying to do, but I’m more disturbed by this level of sugary cuteness set to a story that is otherwise about dealing with a very depressing, grim reality.  To say that there’s a mismatch in the tone of the setting design and the plot is an understatement.  Between the images of a skinned, feetless, headless chicken like you’d find in a supermarket running around as if it were still alive to a bread robot that becomes so depressed that it commits suicide by rending itself in half all the while spraying blood everywhere is just too much for me to handle.

I actually got a painful little pit in my stomach once this episode was over that made me feel quite ill.  Jinrui definitely has a unique style, but I don’t want that to get misinterpreted as praise of any kind—I merely want to stress that I cannot recall ever seeing anything of this particular sort of weirdness ever before.  I’ve seen more than enough to frighten me away from this series forever.

Acchi Kocchi Ep. 1

Initial impression – fuel for the moe inferno

Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (English synonym – All Over the Place, title literal translation – Here and There) (more info)

If Lucky Star can be thought of as moe crack, then Acchi Kocchi is probably closer to moe sugar.  It’s such a sweet anime that I’m sure most people are going to get a sour taste in their mouths unless they’ve properly conditioned themselves for this kind of style (as I have =P).  I like how the two main characters Tsumiki and Io clearly care for each other with a slight, awkward honesty.  While they are not in a serious relationship, unlike most anime romances they aren’t vehemently denying their love; instead going for a sort of soft consensus with their mutual feelings.  It’s not an atypical friendship between hero and heroine and that simple novelty is more than enough to give this series a nice flair of originality.  Integrating males into a moe series is also a rarity and when it is done it often isn’t done very well with focus always going to the girls and leaving the guys to the sidelines.  But Acchi Kocchi gives both genders fairly equal measures of presence, which is inspiringly daring.  It’s a kind of delightfulness that has gotten my moe passion burning brightly and I’m salivating at the thought of what the future holds.

Kill Me Baby Ep. 1

Initial impression – not as bad as I thought it might be

Winter 2012 (12 episodes) (more info)

With an art style reminiscent of some big-name moe anime, Kill Me Baby is just asking to be compared to its predecessors.  Unfortunately, It doesn’t have the charm of Lucky Star nor does it have the quirkiness of Pani Poni Dash.  But to its credit, it goes about its humor with a level of seriousness which belies its over-stylized moe appearance.  There’s very much a sense that this anime is determined to be original.  But a niggling detail that I just can’t seem to let go of is the very abrupt and matter-of-fact way the setting and characters are introduced.  I can’t point to any negativity this creates and for the most part it fits with Kill Me Baby’s fast pace.  But all the same, I feel like I’m lacking some crucial details that may simply be nonexistent in the first place.  Maybe it will grow on me if I give it a chance, but Kill Me Baby doesn’t wow the viewer with its first episode.

Invade!? Squid Girl 2 (review)

Final impression – good fun that’ll invade your heart (9/10)

Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (Japanese title – Shinryaku!? Ika Musume)

After emerging from the ocean and failing to invade the surface world, Squid Girl has managed to make a wonderful assortment of friends.  She’s currently employed at the beach-side restaurant “Lemon” and works under taskmaster Eiko and the frightening owner Chizuru.  She constantly fends off clingy assaults from Sanae while teasing the easily frightened Nagisa.  Her popularity with little kids sometimes puts her in a charismatic leadership position and her squidly abilities make her a star team player at any task she attempts.  She must also contend with Cyndi, the American scientist who is convinced Squid Girl must be an alien lifeform, worthy of study.  Between work, friends and other, sillier problems, Squid Girl manages to keep her tentacles busy with all manner of ridiculous and exciting adventures.

These English and Japanese subtitles were used in the original TV version; not added by a fansub.

Squid Girl 2, like the first season, follows the format of three distinct plot arcs in each episode.  If you liked season 1, then you’re going to like the second season as well.  It’s a good pace that covers a nice amount of content that’s good at holding your attention and keeping things fresh.  My personal favorite episode this season was the English-learning mini-story because native speaker Laura Post was brought in for the voice of Cyndi Campbell.  However, with the rapid come-and-go stories, this means that some of the better ideas may end before they fully come to fruition.  The trade off is that the less interesting plot devices also go before they overstay their welcome.  In the end, Squid Girl is like watching an animated comic strip that jumps around to all kinds of interesting diversions and occasionally revisiting old ideas that are typically a welcome return.  But the key point that sets this anime apart from the crowd is its innocence and straightforward no-nonsense approach as it goes about its delightful humor.  So while Squid Girl 2 isn’t always a constant barrage of laughs, it’s a unique format and style that definitely made the best of its second season.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume Ep. 1

Initial impression – more good stuff

Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Invade!? Squid Girl) (Alternate title – Squid Girl 2) (more info)

Squid Girl 2 is shaping up to be just more of Squid Girl 1, which would normally be the way to start off a negative review.  However, if you’ll take a look at my review of the first season, it was one of my favorite anime from last year.  Additionally, Squid Girl follows a formula of about three unique story arcs every episode and each has some nicely creative jokes, conflicts all followed by a nice resolution.  It’s a very tidy way of composing a series of events in the life of a cute, non-moe character that doesn’t really need much development—especially when the anime’s premise can be summed up as, “An anthropomorphic squid has come from the sea to invade the land, but she keeps getting distracted by humorous asides.”  Is there really any reason to complicate such a fun and quirky setting with a long story?  If your characters aren’t going to grow very much beyond their purpose-built roles, then this is the way to present it.  That being said, the stories each need to continue to be original and interesting to keep the show fresh.  But if season 1 is anything to go on, I’m confident we’re all in for another fun squid-vasion.

C3 Cube x Cursed x Curious Ep. 1

Initial impression – a good formula

Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (more info)

It seems that every anime season has to have its own moe anime and C3 fills the mold for autumn 2011 (accompanied by another moe anime, Working!! 2).  The first episode is encouraging, with Fear, the tsundere heroine, being voiced by Yukari Tamura—famous for her role as Nanoha in the magic girl series by the same name.  This is bolstered by the fact that she has some experience portraying tsundere characters as Togame in Katanagatari.  But unlike last season’s moe anime Yuru Yuri, C3 is showing signs of a plot rather than a collection of random events.  The characters also seem less rooted to single traits that they just orbit around in perpetuity and actually have depth and relatability.  It does have some ecchi, but that’s offset by some good, physical slapstick humor, the likes of which I’ve not seen in a while.  So we’ve got moe, tsundere, good character development, comedy and a little ecchi.  Sounds like a satisfying combo to me.

Yuru Yuri Ep 2

Impression – moe

Ayano, the hard-working student council vice-president, is upset with the fact that the lazy Kyoko has the best grades in the class.  When she goes to confront Kyoko, Kyoko reveals that she gets good grades because she can cram study the night before a big test.  Shaken, Ayano threatens to take away the clubroom from Kyoko if she can outscore Kyoko on the next test.  Kyoko accepts the challenge on the condition that if Ayano fails to outscore her, Ayano will have to join the club.  The next day, two student council clerks, Himawari and Sakurako, are assigned to sort papers in the student council room while Ayano goes off to look for Kyoko.  While sorting, Kyoko happens to stop by with the rest of the club and offers to help sort papers.  They finish and end up leaving before a frustrated Ayano returns to find she had received help from her enemy.

Yuru Yuri is cute, but somewhat spacey in its direction.  It can’t seem to focus on just one theme or goal and roll with it.  While this sort of arrangement is certainly a staple of success for many moe anime, for some reason Yuru Yuri feels like a long string of cliff hangers.  There are so many loose threads flying around unresolved that I wonder if they will ever get revisited.  Or maybe I’ll just completely forget about the unresolved plot elements and things will tumble along on their merry way.  I’m hesitant to say Yuru Yuri is bad, because it has some very lovely moments where it shines brightly.  That being said, I’m pretty sure this is something I’m going to be completing just for the sake of catching those few scenes of brilliance.

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